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The City of Holiday Light

Put on your sunglasses, but don’t worry, you won’t need them during the day. The days are “Gray Paree” just as you would expect, but the nights?…Sparkling bright with 130 illuminated streets and squares in the Capital City to celebrate the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012.

Number one: don’t miss the Champs-Elysées. Last Wednesday actress and “ambassadrice de l’élégance” (needs no translation) Audrey Tautou, along with Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë and Jean Noël Reinhardt, President of the Champs-Elysées Committee, inaugurated the lights along what many consider to be the world’s most beautiful avenue. In a totally unique style to anything that has lit the avenue in the past, you may find these rings of changing colors to fit the delicacy and elegance of Ms. Tautou’s style just as was intended.

At Place de la Concorde, now’s your chance to take a ride on the “Grand Roue” — a tradition since 1900 when it was first installed for the World’s Fair, up through February 19, 2012 — but don’t wait for the lights to come down before circling to the top! See La Grande Roue at Place de la Concorde– for more information.

When you’re wandering through the various “quartiers” of the City of Light, you’ll find many of the streets decorated each in their own way. Take a stroll to visit them all or make a plan by checking the list: Decorated Streets of Paris

Need Christmas gifts? No problem. There are lots of Christmas markets to satisfy your shopping urges and need for a good “Vin Chaud.” The market along the Champs Elysées (from place de la Concorde to Rond Point) will keep you busy for a while, but if it’s not good enough, you can visit the Village du Père Noël de Saint-Germain-des-Prés (at the Métro entrance of Saint-Germain-des-Prés), the Village de Noël Européen du Trocadéro (at the Métro entrance of Trocadéro), the Village de Noël de Montparnasse (at the foot of the Tour Montparnasse), the Village de Noël, place Saint Sulpice (at place Saint-Sulpice), the Marché de Noël Italie 2 (at Place d’Italie), the Marché de la Gare de l’Est (in the Gare de l’Est), the Marché de Noël, place de la Nation (at place de la Nation), the Marché de Noël de Notre Dame (at Square Viviani/quai de Montebello). the Marché de la Défense (on the Parvis de La Défense), the Marché de Noël de “Noël en Auteuil, les Festiv’ Solidaires” (at the Métro entrance of Jasmin) and the Marché de Noël de Boulogne (at La Grande Place facing the Centre Commercial). That ought to fix you, no? To learn more, visit The Christmas Markets of Paris

And of course, what is Christmas without the department store lights, decorated trees and windows? It was tough to decide which we preferred — Galeries Lafayette’s Rock’nRoll animated windows with handmade “Kouklitas” puppets and dolls by American designer Andrew Yang, or Printemps’ Chanel-designed and decorated fantasy cities — veritable works of installation art.

If you fall in love with the Kouklitas at Galeries Lafayette like I did, then no problem…one or more can be yours for a mere 150€, numbered and signed by the artist. While you’re making your choice, go visit the 20-meter-high Christmas tree under the dome (40, boulevard Haussmann, 9th).   Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director for the House of Chanel, inaugurated Printemps’ windows earlier this month in the company of  Vanessa Paradis. Each window represents a different destination…11 to be exact (how apropos!): Los Angeles, London, New York, Byzantine, Paris, Biarritz, Moscow, Venice, Shanghai, Tokyo and Le Cap d’Antibes. The windows will knock your wooly socks off, but little Karl L. dolls doing what Karl does, will certainly make you smile. (64, boulevard Hausmann 9th).

BTW, don’t forget to wear sunscreen, you might need it! And for more information, visit Christmas in Paris

A la prochaine…

adrian dec_2009-3Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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 P.S. If you’re going to the “Grands Magazins,” you may want to try one of Paris’ most classic French Bistrots! Be sure to read this week’s “Restaurant of the Week!” 

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